The Robland X31, manufactured in Belgium, is a true, single-chassis combination machine, with a 10-in. tablesaw, rolling table, a tiJting-spindle shaper, a 12-in. jointer/planer, and a horizontal mortising/boring attachment— all included in the basic pack- J age. It is slightly smaller and | heavier than the Kity 609/638, 1 and has cast-iron tables. Options | include a larger rolling table for § bigger plywood work ($150 g upcharge); a variable-speed planer feed motor ($395); and a "mobility kit." including casters and tow bar (S125) for moving it around.
On the whole, the Robland is a solidly built and smooth-running machine. Like other single-chassis machines, the rip capacity is limited because of the attached jointer/planer. (See chart.) Its sturdy rolling table allows you to crosscut a 4-ft.-wide piece of plywood, although one owner told me that the larger rolling table was i
F elder is an Austrian company that has been making woodworking machinery for more than 30 years. Its three combination machines offer nigged, heavy-duty features and uncompromising attention to detail over a range of capacities and prices.
The only difference between the BF6 26 and the BF6 31 machines is the size of the jointer/planer. (The BF6 26 has a 10 in.; the I5F6 31 a 12 in.) However, the BF6 31 costs Si,549 more. The BF6 41, on the other hand, is a much larger machine—more than 900 lbs. heavier than the BF6 26—with a 16-in. planer and a 69-in. crosscut capacity on the rolling table (8-ft. capacity optional). All three of the machines have a dial-type thickness gauge on the planer crank, accurate to 0.002 in.
Felder builds these machines to last, and to hold their accuracy. They have heavy-duty adjustment bolts for all criti-
a good investment. An arbor-locking pin makes blade changing easy. I had some difficulty, however, making precise blade height adjustments with the raise/lower lever.
The 3 hp shaper has a stepped spindle that accommodates cutters with either Vein, or l'/«-in. dia. bores. It is very straightforward, with only one speed (5500 rpm), and the spindle doesn't tilt.
The rugged jointer/planer cut very
cal machine alignments. The guide rails, which hold the fences and extension tables in place, are machined right into the tables for maximum rigidity. The large rolling tables (see chart) provide better support for large panels than any others I tested.
One drawback of the Felder machines is they're set up for three-phase power, meaning you'll have to install three-pliase power, buy a phase converter or purchase the optional S500 single-phase motor package.
well and left a smooth surface on all the wood I ran through it. Still, one owner recommended the variable-speed planer feed option because he occasionally found the standard feed rate of 29 fpm to be too fast for the final pass on hardwoods.
The mortiser, which attaches to the side of the jointer/planer with two bolts, produced very smooth slot mortises, although the cam-action hold-down clamp had a tendency to dent the wood. This could be eliminated by using a scrap block between the clamp pad and the work.
The Robland X31 is a sturdy and capable one-man shop for the intermediate to advanced woodworker. It is best suited for furniture construction and mill work. While it may be moved around the shop fairly easily with the optional "mobility kit," at 1,100 lbs. this is definitely stationary equipment.
Electronic braking, which is mandatory in Europe, is optional on both single- and three-phase models, but the standard doublc-V-bclt pulleys stop the motors almost as fast.
On the jointer/planers, four-knife heads with disposable blades are standard. The outfeed rollers are deeply grooved for positive feeding of rough stock.
One unique feature is the 16,000-rpm router spindle available for the sliaper. A convenient spindle-holding mechanism makes changing from the router to the shaper spindle easy.
As one Felder owner put it, "The Felder machine is not a machine for the novice woodworker any more than a Ferrari is a car for the novice driver." This is the machine for the enthusiast or professional who wants quality and performance at any cost.
FELDER BF6 26, BF6 31, AND BF6 41
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